Kali Linux 2020.3 With Major Changes | Bash is No More ?

We are back with another big update of Kali Linux in this year. Kali Linux 2020.3 is rolling out. The 3rd quarter update was released on 18 August 2020, This update has lots of good features that are awesome.
Kali Linux 2020.3 update is here
YAY, downloading the Kali Linux Update

Kali Linux 2020.3 released yesterday. The key-features of these updates are following:

  • Bash is going to be replaced by ZSH.
  • The release of Win-Kex – Get ready Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.
  • Easy switching mode Auto HiDPi is here.
  • Every tool has it's own unique icon.
  • Bluetooth Arsenal – New set of tools for Kali NetHunter devices.
  • Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 3.1 got official NetHunter support.
  • No network mirror on setup process & quicker setup.

New Shell is coming

We assume that every Kali Linux user is an experienced Linux user. We all love command lines so much. Terminals are our best friend, we feel very comfortable around it. From the beginning day Kali Linux has always used bash (Bourne-Again SHell) as default shell. When we fire up the terminal window and we get the bash shell (for now).

But ZSH is not default now. Kali Linux developers are planning to make ZSH default in the 2020.4 update. (for this 2020.3 release, bash will still be the default).

ZSH is coming with a fresh installation of Kali Linux 2020.3. Didn't get it ? Try the following command to install ZSH.
sudo apt install -y zsh zsh-syntax-highlighting zsh-autosuggestions
Who have upgraded Kali Linux 2020.3 from it's older versions user will be lacking the default ZSH configuration. So for upgrade users only, make sure to copy the configuration file by using following command:
cp /etc/skel/.zshrc ~/
Then we just need to switch to ZSH by using zsh command.
zsh in kai linux
Image source 'Kali Official Website'
If we want the ZSH in default (and replace bash) now in our Kali Linux system then we just need to run following command:
chsh -s /bin/zsh
That is what the developers are going to do in the 2020.4 update.
Kali Linux Developers wanted to give the community a notice before this switch happens. When Kali Linux was suddenly moved from Gnome to Xfce in the 2019.4 update, a large number of people didn't like it.

Now we the community members can use ZSH and give them feedback.

We will talk about it later on another different article. Let's move to another update.


Having Kali Linux on “Windows Subsystem for Linux” (WSL) is something we have been taking advantage of since it came out. With the release of WSLv2, the overall functionality and user experience improved dramatically.

Today, the experience is improving once more with the introduction of Win-KeX (Windows + Kali Desktop EXperience). After installing it, typing in kex, or clicking on the button, Win-KeX will give you a persistent-session GUI.

After getting WSL installed, we can install Win-KeX by doing the following:
sudo apt update && sudo apt install -y kali-win-kex
Please note, Win-KeX does require WSL v2 on x64 as it’s not compatible with WSL v1, or arm64.

Automating HiDPI

HiDPI displays are getting more very common day by day. Unfortunately, Linux support, out of the box, hasn’t been great. Which means after doing a fresh install, there is a bit of tweaking required to get it working, otherwise the font/text/display may be very small to read. The Kali developers had a guide out explaining the process required to get it working, but the process before was a little “fiddly”. This is really better.

So they made kali-hidpi-mode. Now, either typing in kali-hidpi-mode or selecting it from the menu (as shown below), should automate switching between HiDPI modes.
Automating HiDPI in Kali Linux
Image copyright Kali Linux Official Website

Tool Icons

Over the last few releases, Kali Linux have been showing the progress on getting more themed icons for tools. Now, if we use the default tool listing (kali-linux-default), every tool in the menu (and then a few extra ones!), should have their own icon now.
kali linux 2020.3 icons
Image source Kali.org
The developers will be working on adding missing tools to the menu (and creating icons for them) over the next few releases of Kali, as well as expanding into the kali-linux-large metapackage (then kali-tools-everything). They also have plans for these icons, outside of the menu – more information in an upcoming release.

Kali NetHunter Bluetooth Arsenal

Kali Linux 2020.3 introducing Bluetooth Arsenal by yesimxev from the Kali NetHunter team. It combines a set of bluetooth tools in the Kali NetHunter app with some pre-configured workflows and exciting use cases. We can use our external adapter for reconnaissance, spoofing, listening to and injecting audio into various devices, including speakers, headsets, watches, or even cars.

Please note that RFCOMM and RFCOMM tty will need to be enabled in kernels from now on to support some of the tools.
Kali NetHunter Bluetooth Arsenal
Image copyright kai.org

Kali NetHunter for Nokia Phones

Kali NetHunter now supports the Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 6.1 phones, thanks to yesimxev. Please note that those images contain a “minimal Kali rootfs” due to technical reasons but you can easily install all the default tools via following command:
sudo apt install -y kali-linux-default
Kali Nethunter for Nokia Phones
 Kali for Nokia Phones. Image source Kali.org

Setup Process

The full installer image always had all the packages required for an offline installation but if we installed a Kali Linux system with this image and without disabling the network, the installer would automatically run dist-upgrade during the install. This is done to make sure that we have the latest packages on first boot. And that step can take a very long time, especially after a few months after a release when lots of updates have accumulated. Starting with 2020.3, Kali Linux developers disabled the network mirror in the full installer so that we always get the same installation speed, and the same packages and versions for that release – we just make sure to update after installing!

Whilst we were at it, we fixed another related issue. If you didn’t have network access (either voluntarily or otherwise) during installation, you would get an empty network repository (/etc/apt/sources.list). This means, you would not be able to use apt to install additional packages. While there might be some users who will never have network, we believe that it’s best to actually configure that file in all cases. So that’s what we did. By default, any fresh installs going forward after 2020.3 will have network repositories pre-defined.

ARM Devices update

Kali developers pre-generated various different ARM images (as of 2020.3 – 19 images) to allow for quick download and deployment, but they have build scripts for more (as of 2020.3 – 39 images). If our device is not one of ones that we release images for, we’ll need to use the scripts to self generate the image.

Notable changes in ARM’s 2020.3 release:

  • All of the ARM images come with kali-linux-default metapackage installed, bringing them in line with the rest of our releases, so more tools are available when you first boot
  • We have reduced the size of all our ARM images that are created, so downloads should be smaller. However, you will still need to use at least a 16GB sdcard/USB drive/eMMC
  • Pinebook and Pinebook Pro images can now be used on either sdcard or eMMC
  • The Pinebook image now has the WiFi driver built during image creation, instead of on first boot, this should speed up first boot time massively
  • The Pinebook Pro has a change from the upstream firmware, which changes ccode=DE to ccode=all – this allows access to more 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels
  • The 64-bit RaspberryPi images now have the RaspberryPi userland utilities built during image creation, so vcgencmd and various other utilities that were previously only available on the 32-bit image are now usable on 64-bit as well
  • The ODROID-C2 image now uses the Kali kernel, instead of a vendor provided one. This means in the future, an apt dist-upgrade will get you kernel updates instead of waiting for a new Kali release
  • The /etc/fstab file now includes the root partition via UUID, this should make it easier when trying to use a USB drive instead of sdcard on devices that support it

A few things which are work in progress:

  • RaspberryPi images are using 4.19 kernels. We would like to move to 5.4 however, nexmon isn’t working properly with it (as the new kernel requires firmware version => 7.45.202) for which no nexmon patch exists yet
  • There is a new USBArmory Mk2 build script. We don’t have the hardware to test it however, so we are looking for community feedback who is able to test it out
  • Veyron image will be released at a later date to kernel issues that haven’t yet been tracked down

Desktop Environment

As there has been minor update to Gnome, we have been taking some advantages of the new settings:
  • GNOME’s file manager nautilus has a new theme
  • GNOME’s system-monitor now matches the colors and also has stacked CPU charts
  • Improved the design for “nested headerbars” (example, in the Settings Window, where the left headerbar is joined with the side-navbar).
Kali 2020.3 desktop updates
Kali Linux 2020.3 Desktop updates Image:Kali.Org

How to update Kali Linux 2020.3

Fresh images So what are you waiting for? Start downloading already!
Seasoned Kali users are already aware of this, but for the ones who are not, we do also produce weekly builds that you can use as well. If you can’t wait for our next release and you want the latest packages when you download the image, you can just use the weekly image instead. This way you’ll have fewer updates to do. Just know these are automated builds that we don’t QA like we do our standard release images.

Existing Upgrades If you already have an existing Kali installation, remember you can always do a quick update by applying following commands one by one:

echo "deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-rolling main non-free contrib" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt update && sudo apt -y full-upgrade
[ -f /var/run/reboot-required ] && sudo reboot -f
You should now be on Kali Linux 2020.3. We can do a quick check by using following command:
grep VERSION /etc/os-release

How much you liked Kali's this 2020.3 update let us know in the comment section.


  1. what is the default account in kali 2020.3 ? I tried root/toor kali/kali , both not work

    1. It is kali/kali. Did you put other username and password during installation? or check for caps lock.


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